Members of the Nigerian police force in Taraba State have busted a cattle rustling gang in Gashaka LGA.
The raid resulted in the recovery of 142 cows and 26 sheep.
The State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Yakubu Babas, told newsmen in Jalingo that the operation was a joint effort between the Nigerian police and Tabital Pulaaku Vigilance Group.
Yakubu said security forces engaged in a gun duel with the cattle rustlers.
“On the receipt of the intelligence information, a team of policemen with vigilantes were drafted to the area.
“On sighting our men, the rustlers engaged them in a shootout but due to the superior power of my men, they took to their heels abandoning 142 cows and 26 sheep.
“The recovered animals are now in police custody and three people have so far identified some of the animals to be their own,” Yakubu said.
Some residents of Jalingo has however lampooned the vigilante group of extortion.
They claimed the group always harassed them and forcefully take away monies from them.
In response, the commissioner of police said “When I assumed duty as the CP of this state, I was approached with some allegations against the vigilantes by some people.
“I asked them to officially write to me indicating the alleged offences.
“But as I speak with you, they have not done that.
“Therefore, vigilantes can operate in the state.
“However, I have directed that there must always be a policeman attached to them whenever they embark on their operation.
“By so doing, they will be guided on the provision of the law as far as security operations are concerned,” the commissioner said.
The commissioner also advised genuine owners of the recovered animals to visit the command with proof of ownership.